A cut, a trim, and regular friendly conversation at Hairy Notions

Before my 30 minutes in the chair, that beard is so untidy.

Before my 30 minutes in the chair, that beard is so untidy.

Some men get haircuts when they can’t stand the sight of Shaggy staring back from the mirror any longer.

Some men get their beards trimmed when birds and other little animals start to hover too closely.

I have my Vanity Appointment every four weeks, without hesitation. My tradition of haircut and beard-trim is so deeply rooted that I’ve given it a name.

For 22 years, I’ve visited Theresa Constantine at her Hairy Notions salon in North Syracuse like clockwork. My instructions are always the same, and Theresa is such a good stylist that she always asks nevertheless. Take a little off the top and a lot off the bottom. It’s a natural request, considering that I have way less on top than on my chin to begin when I walk in the place. Theresa confirmed for me yesterday morning that I have the fastest-growing beard of any of her clients.

And yes, certainly, she answered my question yesterday with that familiar bit of sarcasm in her voice, I am the most handsome, too.

My 30 minutes every four weeks sitting in Theresa’s styling chair are fun.

It started out very professionally, although when we first met, it was through my job, not hers.

While working for the big daily in 1991, I was assigned to write a story about a crew of local people who dressed up and reenacted Civil War battles. Theresa, being an actress in local theater in addition to owning Hairy Notions, hosted my interview with a handful of fellow Civil War reenactors at the shop.

I wrote the story.

Halfway through the task, Theresa Constantine works on my thick beard.

Halfway through the task, Theresa Constantine works on my thick beard.

And I needed a haircut and beard trim, so I also made an appointment to return without my pen and pad. Theresa got my hair and beard just right.

We talked, and we discovered we shared a love for live music. We talked, and we became friends, little by little, appointment by appointment, conversation by conversation. We talked, and I found out that both her parents had been hair stylists.

You can cover a lot of ground sharing tales every four weeks. You can discover that the friendship should have legs outside of that salon.

We talked, and I went to see her and her husband, David, perform in local theater productions. We talked, and we all met up at outdoor concerts at the state fairgrounds. We talked, and my dear wife Karen and I became Dining Week partners with Theresa and David. We talked, and we all celebrated the birth of their daughter, Althea.

A stylist's own style is shown off with Theresa's collection from family and friends, never far from her work.

A stylist’s own style is shown off with Theresa Constantine’s collection from family and friends, never far from her work.

Althea is 9 now, and the apple did not fall far from the tree. This weekend, Althea will appear in the Covey Theatre Company’s production of “All I Want for Christmas Is …” in the Bevard Studio Theatre in Syracuse.

I know this because my friend Theresa told me all about it as I sat in her chair yesterday morning, enjoying every minute of my Vanity Appointment.

As always, when she held the portable mirror behind my head and tilted it for the full view, I was content. Shorter on top. Really shorter on the bottom. My head was right for four more weeks.

As I departed, Theresa walked out to greet her next customer. “How long have I been doing your hair?” Theresa asked the woman. “Since 1977,” the woman answered. I could tell they were friends.

If you’re in need of a vanity appointment yourself, you’re on your own. Don’t bother to call Hairy Notions because no openings are available. Theresa is booked solid by her regulars.

Vanity Appointment complete, here is the final product.

Vanity appointment complete, here is the final product.

26 thoughts on “A cut, a trim, and regular friendly conversation at Hairy Notions

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  6. I did the math, Mark, and you’d mentioned that you have a birthday coming up – one year following a big 0. So, guessing you are 31, and Theresa’s been cutting your hair for 22 years … that means you were 9 when she first cut your hair and beard? Wow! Good story and I’m glad you met a kindred spirit. 😉


  7. Wow, I love your commitment to the process. I usually get my hair cut when I remember. Not a problem in the summer when I can pull it back. This time of year I usually look a little American Longhair.


    • With my widening male-pattern up top, long hair would result in an accidental comb-over. That would make me aghast. And I could not live with the Grizzly Adams beard, either. Some folks, though, wear the American Longhair well, Cat.


  8. i love the name of the salon and really love the relationship you have forged with theresa. these are the people/relationships that make our rituals a wonderful experience rather than a mundane task.


  9. She’s a wonder, the place reminds me of the hair salon in Steel Magnolia’s…..Theresa has a heart of gold and if she can make my hair work she can do anything!!!


    • You are right, Susan, Theresa’s shop is a community-minded location, just like in that movie. And, of course, Theresa is a master of the comb, brush, clippers … everything in that stylist’s cabinet of hers. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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